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Last update: December 13, 2017 at 11:46 am

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HEATWAVE AND LARGE PUBLIC EVENTS

Mass gatherings increase exposure to heat and direct sunlight and can make organisational responses more difficult. Individual behaviours often change (for example, people may be reluctant to use the toilet facilities due to the long queues and so purposely reduce fluid intake).  At many large events, people get into a good position to see the event and then reduce fluid intake and heat avoidance behaviours so as not to lose their spot. This can lead to heat-related illness, dehydration and/or collapse.

There is a well-tried and tested guidance, especially from the Health and Safety Executive, ’Events Safety Guide’ www.hse.gov.uk/event-safety/index.htm

A simple checklist is provided below for use by event organisers to help guide them when planning large events in relation to heat and should be used in conjunction with other more detailed planning advice such as the Health and Safety Executive’s, Event Safety Guide:

Heat-Health Risk Actions to Consider
Increased exposure to heat
  • Provide temporary shaded areas at event locations (umbrellas, tents)
  • Reduce the need to queue (efficient check in, additional staffing, or staggered ticket entry)
  • Provide a water spray/ mist area/ spraying (showers, garden hose)
  • Make available a map of local public air-conditioned spaces where people can have respite from the heat (consider extending opening hours of these venues)
  • Diverting strenuous activities for cooler days or cooler periods of the day and provide an alternative, less stenuous program for hot days
Communications barriers
  • Prepare advice for tourists and distribute around hotels, money exchanges and transport hubs
  • Produce and distribute heat-health advice printed onto free gifts e.g. fans or caps (can be used to fan/ protect against and recognising heat-related illnesses, and provide emergency phone number in case of identified heat related illness)
  • inform your audience and/or your members about the health risks and possible preventive measures through digital screens/ speakers/ announcements
Reduced access to water
  • Distribute water bottles or temporary water dispensers
  • Ensure an adequate supply of drinking water.  On hot days it is advisable to provide free drinking water
Severe heat emergency
  • Consider moving date, location or cancel event in extreme heat alert (especially at a Level 4 alert)
  • Ensure adequate immediate relief for people in emergency and ensure their transport to the first aid/health unit
Medical needs
  • Remember that people with asthma, heart disease and/or other additional chronic conditions are additionally health sensitive to ozone and/or heat
  • Keep in mind that alcohol and some (prescription) drugs can worsen effect of heat
  • Ensure adequately trained personnel who notify authorities as soon as there are incidences of heat illness observed
Food needs
  • Provide water-rich foods such as salads; yogurt and ensure that food is kept cool to prevent contamination
Animal needs
  • Potential for irresponsible owners leaving pets in cars which can overheat.  Consider a robust message outlining that no pets are allowed at the event or within event car parks.

This advice is based on information provided in the Department of Health’s, National Heatwave Plan for England.

Return to Heatwave advice page

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